An informed arthritis patient is always an intelligent arthritis patient. Conquer rather than cope with your arthritis.

Abatacept (Orencia)

What is a Orencia (Abatacept)?
Orencia (abatacept) is a drug belonging to the ‘biologics/ monoclonal antibody’ group. It attaches to a protein present on the T cells (One of the immune system cells). This blocks the activation of these T cells thereby blocking the production of new T cells & release of chemicals that cause the joint inflammation in Rheumatoid arthritis.
When is Orencia used in Rheumatoid arthritis?
One is advised Orencia if the disease is not controlled with the basic disease modifying agents (Methotrexate/ leflunomide/ sulphasalazine/ hydroxychloroquine) or if one does not tolerate these medicines. They are also considered if you fail to improve with anti-TNF agents.
How is Orencia given?
Orencia is given as an intravenous infusion over half an hour. After the first dose, subsequent doses are given after 2 & 4 weeks & every 4 weeks thereafter.
Before you take Orencia, inform your doctor about—
If you have any ongoing infection/ have had recurrent infections.
If you are suffering from Tuberculosis.
Recently taken any vaccine or if you have to take any vaccine in the near future.
Are taking TNF-α blockers. You have a higher risk of infection if you are taking the two at the same time.
If you are suffering from COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Patients with COPD may have worsening of cough/ breathlessness with orencia.
Have or have had viral hepatitis.
Can I plan pregnancy when on Orencia?
No. The safety of Orencia in pregnancy is not proven. Do not plan pregnancy when on Orencia. Orencia crosses the placenta & can harm your unborn baby.
Can I breast feed my baby when on Orencia?
No. Orencia is secreted in breast milk & can harm your baby.
What are the side effects of Orencia?
Infusion reaction- A few patients do experience infusion reactions in the form of chills, shivering, fever, headache. A few patients may have nausea.
Patients taking Orencia are at higher risk of developing infections since it depresses the immune system.
There have been rare cases of cancer (lung cancer & lymphoma) in patients taking Orencia. However, the exact role of Orencia in causation of cancer is not established.
How useful is Orencia in Rheumatoid arthritis?
Clinical trials have shown a significant improvement in joint pain/ swelling of rheumatoid arthritis with Orencia 1,2,3
Can I take vaccines when on Orencia?
Live vaccines are not taken when on orencia/ till 3 months after the last dose.

1)Moreland LW, Alten R, Van den Bosch F, Appelboom T, Leon M, Emery P, Cohen S, Luggen M, Shergy W, Nuamah I, Becker JC: Costimulatory blockade in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot, dose-finding, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating CTLA-4Ig and LEA29Y eighty-five days after the first infusion. Arthritis Rheum 2002, 46:1470-1479.
2)Kremer JM, Westhovens R, Leon M, Di Giorgio E, Alten R, Steinfeld S, Russell A, Dougados M, Emery P, Nuamah IF, Williams GR, Becker JC, Hagerty DT, Moreland LW: Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by selective inhibition of T-cell activation with fusion protein CTLA4Ig. N Engl J Med 2003, 349:1907- 1915.
3) Kremer JM, Genant HK, Moreland LW, Russell AS, Emery P, Abud-Mendoza C, Szechinski J, Li T, Teng J, Becker JC, Westhovens R: Results of a two-year followup study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who received a combination of abatacept and methotrexate. Arthritis Rheum 2008, 58:953-963.

Also read>>>>
Rituximab (Mabthera/ Reditux/ Rituxan) for Rheumatoid arthritis
Tociliziumba (Actemra) for rheumatoid artritis

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Created on: April 2007
Last updated on: Feb 2015
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